Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. sketched out an ambitious education plan last week in his first State of the State Address, linking the state’s economic health with its school system.
“Focusing on economic development is vitally important because it will provide us with the resources necessary to pay for a world-class education for our children,” he said.
Because the Utah Capitol is under construction, Mr. Huntsman, a Republican and a former U.S. ambassador to Singapore, gave his Jan. 18 speech at the Old Territorial Statehouse in Fillmore.
Mr. Huntsman said his budget proposes more education funding, including $5.5 million in new money for classroom supplies and materials. The result, he said, is that each elementary school teacher would have an extra $300 for classroom expenses.
Read a transcript of Governor Huntsman’s address. ()
The new governor also promised to build on the priorities of his predecessor, Olene S. Walker, who had launched an emphasis on improving the reading skills of students. Mr. Huntsman said he would extend those efforts to mathematics as well and said future programs would focus on reading comprehension and writing.
Gov. Huntsman said he wants to reach outside schools to attract others to teaching. Promoting partnerships between schools and businesses is a priority, as is strengthening relationships between school and the community, he added.
“Let’s tap into our vast volunteer potential and can-do spirit by asking parents and grandparents to come back to the classroom for purposes of mentoring, tutoring, and career guidance,” he said.
A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2005 edition of Education Week